What makes you do the things you do? Especially when you know ahead of time it is wrong? It is one little letter. The letter “I”. You see because God gave us “free will” we get to choose which direction to go when we are faced with doing right or doing wrong. It’s kind of sad, but just one little letter can make the difference between a life you “run” to a life that you “ruin”.
When “I” do what “I” want to do it can often lead to wrong. This happens because we are basically selfish, and want to satisfy ourselves rather than God. “I” can hurt people. “I” can destroy relationships. “I” can take from others. “I” can put anything in place of God. “I” can verbally tell someone just what “I” think. “I” can lust after what my neighbor has. “I” can even kill.
The truth is God gave us a better way to live, not to enslave us, but to set us free. Jesus said that He came to give us life and to give it to us more abundantly. (John 10:10b) Abundant life? You mean it can be better than this? “Yes!” You accept Christ and live the way He instructs and your life will be different. Even a life that is in “ruin” because of “I” getting everything it wanted. Accepting Christ is not winning the lottery, but you will face life with richness. When you live in God’s peace you begin to learn contentment. Peace and contentment combined puts “I” in its place. When “i” yields to God it becomes little. When “i” becomes little and yields to what is right one is more likely to do the right thing. Doing the right thing always makes for a better life.
I met a woman today who was absolutely beautiful! As we talked I could discern this woman was also wise. While talking the subject turned to marriage. Her face lit up as she spoke of love, and marriage. She shared with me the great love of her life. You see the woman I was speaking to was a widow. She mentioned how it is a give and take of both sides. She said one has to give 50%, but at times you may have to give more like 70%, and one should be willing to, for a season. She told how a marriage takes work and lots of it! She mentioned how today too many take marriage so lightly. She said a lot of people “love”, but asked how many couples are “in love”?
Wow! My heart was stirred by how she spoke of love. I asked her if she would like to go out on a date. She asked me if I had my own car and could still drive? Oh, I guess I should mention this beautiful lady was 92 years old.
I’m divorced, and for the longest time feared of allowing myself to love again knowing I could get hurt again. If you want to be married you must first be willing to risk. If you don’t take the risk of being hurt or having your heart broken again then you aren’t going to live life fully! Sure, you can play it SAFE, but is that living?
Jesus risked all to love us. He gave 100%. He was willing to live among us in order to really love us. He knew his heart would be broken many times by the very ones he loved, yet Jesus is still “in love” with us.
I work in downtown Chicago. Just walking from the train station to my building I see a lot of humanity. The best and the worst of mankind, but today, today I saw Jesus.
I had run out of my house this morning to catch my train and did not take time to eat breakfast. As a result I stopped by a fast food establishment to pick something up. I saw a woman who appeared to be taking her time in ordering breakfast. The line was getting long. I didn’t know until later that she was ordering something that she usually doesn’t and she wanted to make sure the person behind the counter got it right. I got my order in, grabbed it, filled my drink and hurried out the door, and that is when I saw Jesus.
I saw the woman who had taken so much time ordering, who had held up the line, giving a homeless man his breakfast. She saw me watching, and the next thing I know we were talking. I told her that was very cool. She then said, “If a man is hungry how can you not feed him?” As she went on to share with me the words of Jesus, “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me–you did it to me.” (Mat. 25:40 MSG), I sensed the Holy Spirit, the presence of God. If Yoda, from “Star Wars”, was a Christian he might say about her, “The Holy Spirit is strong with this one!” It is an awesome feeling to sense God’s presence oozing out of a person who is so filled up with God it can’t help but come out!
I know Jesus would have fed the homeless man too, and he would have also fed his soul. If you look around at humanity you will see there are a lot of people who need to be fed. Here I am talking about their soul’s need to be fed. They need to hear hope. They need to know there is One who knows them, sees them, and not only loves them, but gave his own son for them. They are starving. There is a spiritual famine in this world today. That is why there are so many conflicts going on all over the world. The worse thing is some don’t even know they are hungry. They have ignored the spiritual hunger pains so long they don’t even realize why they hurt inside. Be Jesus today. Be Jesus every day. Feed the multitudes.
This is one of my favorite times of the year. You see I like to watch football. Last Thursday night was the kickoff of the 2014 professional football season. I have learned how to man the remote control with such proficiency I can actually watch two games at one time on one TV. You see it sort of works out that while one team is in a huddle on one channel on another channel they will be running a play. When that play is over you quickly switch back to the other channel. I usually start a regiment of exercises for my index finger in early August. I practice this move during preseason. I also have a backup finger just in case my starting finger gets knocked out of the game! I love football!
I have to be careful though not to spend 10 ½ hours on Sunday’s watching football. There are things that are way more important that need to be taken care of. With this realization I now limit myself to only watching one game. (And a few quick peeks in on the action.) What is more important than football? Well, a number of things, but for me touching lives. Today I have two letters to write to two different men who are “tenants” of their respective state. (Inmates) I will spend time praying for the week ahead that I will be aware of those that I encounter that may need a few more minutes of my time. In those few minutes they may express their hurts, their fears, or what they need prayer for. I want to be ready. I will also plan out how I can purposely touch the lives of the ones I care about. How I can surprise them with a word that lifts them up, put a smile on their face, lets them know they are loved, and thought of.
Touching someone’s life in a Godly manner takes time, takes practice, and takes opening your eyes to see the needs. It means not being so self-concerned about your own needs. You should already know your needs will be met. In a book I am currently writing I spend a whole chapter describing ways to touch lives. What is your favorite way to do this?
My church always considers this time of the year as the start of a new ministry season. I tend to think that way as well. So the question isn’t, “Am I ready for some football?” the question is, “Am I ready for some ministry?”
Waiting on God is hard. We ask, we seek, we pour out our hearts to him, and then we don’t see any change. When this happens it is easy to wonder, “Have I done something wrong? Is God trying to punish me? Is he even listening to me?” The longer we wait, the harder it becomes to have faith. Remember faith is: “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” Heb. 11:1 (MSG)
So what is going on while we wait?
The longer you wait on God, if you will endure, your faith becomes stronger. It would be easy to believe in God and wait upon God if he delivered solutions faster than Amazon Prime! And aren’t you glad that there is no “prime” service with God to those who may appear to be more spiritual than us? I assure you Billy Graham, and Mother Theresa have waited on God just as much as we do.
When you do exit “God’s waiting room” (as Scott Cochrane puts it), and you will, you become assured that he did hear you, and he counted every one of those tears that poured out of your eyes. You see waiting on God builds character within us. Not only is your faith stronger when you get to the other side, but you have also developed Godly character. Please, no matter what, do not try to answer your own prayers, but wait on God to answer your prayers his way, in his timing. You will be glad you did.
Isa 40:31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. (AMP)